Insight for the Journey: How Little Can I Do and Still Get By?

Insight for the Journey: How Little Can I Do and Still Get By?

Most people in recovery are extremely motivated to do whatever it takes to stay sober, be healthy, and feel better, at least at first. Throughout your recovery journey, it is critical to sustain or regain that strong desire to have a new life.

Imagine a man whose life is crumbling because of a substance use disorder. He gets caught drinking at work and is immediately fired. His wife is fed up with him and threatens to leave him if he doesn’t get treatment. He sees his job, his occupation, his money, his wife, family, reputation, and self-respect all slipping away. The consequences of his behavior and his desire to change become the driving force to enter treatment. In his mind he says earnestly, “I’ll do whatever it takes to get my life back, my wife back, my job back and restore my reputation.” His motivation for treatment is unwaveringly high–at least at first.

Vacillating Motivation
He enters treatment and starts to get better. His wife is eager to get her husband back and his boss states that the man could have his job back if he completes treatment. It’s at this point that his statement changes from “I’ll do whatever it takes” and becomes “how little can I do and still get by?” He puts in less effort, a bad attitude sets in, he is complacent, and his motivation for change is all but gone. Motivation levels in recovery come and go. At times you will be extremely motivated to stay on track, and other times you may feel indecisive and uncommitted.

Staying Strong
It’s important to find ways to stay interested in recovery and stay inspired. It is helpful to write down your reasons to stay sober and keep them in a place where you can review them often. Set goals that can be accomplished only if you stay sober. Make the goal challenging enough to be inspiring, but realistic enough to keep you from getting discouraged. Finally, spend time with encouraging people who believe in you, and limit your contact with those who bring you down. Continually find ways to stay inspired and keep your drive for recovery success high.

Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!

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